Lebanon Daily Brief 04/13/2022

Wednesday, April 13, 2022


Judge Approves Raja Salameh’s Release 
According to L’Orient Today, “The release of Raja Salameh, brother of the governor of central bank Governor Riad Salameh, was approved Tuesday by Mount Lebanon Indictment Chamber judge Pierre Francis, a judicial source confirmed to L’Orient Today.” [L’Orient Today]

Lebanon’s Imports for 2021 Increased by 20% 
L’Orient Today reports, “According to figures issued by the Customs Administration, Lebanese imports are worth $13.6 billion in 2021, an increase by $2.3 billion compared with the previous fiscal year, a 20.6 percent increase, while exports went up by only $342 million, reaching $3.9 billion, or a 9.6 percent rise compared with 2020. In detail, imports grew mainly due to increases in the amount of transportation equipment ($1.1 billion; +137.7 percent), jewelry and precious metals ($1.2 billion; +38.5 percent), electrical and mechanical equipment ($1.2 billion; 31.6 percent) and fuels ($3.9 billion; 19.5percent).” [L’Orient Today]

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Responsible Statecraft
Sea Border Talks Between Israel And Lebanon On Verge Of Imminent Collapse
Nicholas Noe

Noe writes, “Should talks break down in the coming period, as now seems likely, at least two negative outcomes are almost certain. First, with the talks dead and the country sinking ever deeper into a “Deliberate Depression,” Lebanese leaders will have little to lose from officializing the “maximalist” boundary claim they are legally entitled to assert and then taking punitive action in multiple fora. This will put significant pressure on private companies operating in the (soon to be) “disputed” Karish field as well as the Qana Prospect. Second, and perhaps most important, by offering an unworkable deal that leads to a negotiation breakdown, the U.S. and Israel will be handing Hezbollah a powerful new raison d’être as a resistance group by creating a “Maritime Shebaa,” in reference to the strategic strip of land between Lebanon, Syria and Israel that is occupied by Israel. Lebanon claims this land and considers military operations there, including by Hezbollah, as both legal and necessary in order to liberate it. The United Nations considers Shebaa to be part of Israeli-occupied Syrian land, but Syria itself supports Lebanon’s claim.”

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Al Jazeera
Saudi Arabia Rekindles Ties With Cash-Strapped Lebanon
Kareem Chehayeb

Chehayeb writes, “Saudi Ambassador Waleed Bukhari hosted a dinner at his residence on Monday, receiving Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Lebanese political allies, Hezbollah-backed Agriculture Minister Abbas Hajj-Hassan, and the ambassadors of the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany . . . Saudi Arabia once invested billions of dollars in the country and bolstered its luxury tourism economy. The diplomatic crisis, which included a blanket ban of Lebanese exports into the kingdom, crippled Lebanese industrialists already struggling to keep their factories open. Though not all of the measures have been lifted, the developments of the past few days are extremely promising, senior parliamentarian Alain Aoun said.”

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these articles are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the American Task Force on Lebanon, a non-profit, nonpartisan leadership organization of Lebanese-Americans.